In the closing pages of ‘All-Star Western’ #12, Jonah Hex and Tallulah Black had been hired to help get a secret formula back for a scientist. The twist? That scientists name is Dr. Henry Jekyll!
As this issue opens, it’s quickly made clear that getting back Dr. Jekyll’s formula might not be as easy as it sounds (which seems par for the course with Hex). Someone has been releasing the serum, which can allegedly bring out any person’s dark side, into the populace of Gotham City. This has caused a rash of odd murders in which seemingly normal citizens suddenly go off their rockers and turn into raging monsters.
In the course of their investigations, Hex, Black, and Arkham turn their sights to the Haly’s Circus which has made a stop in Gotham. It appears as if many of the murderous citizens have been in contact with the circus in some way. The key one of these is a clown named Jingles who has been rampaging through Gotham. (I wonder how the Joker will feel to know that he wasn’t the first clown to terrorize Gotham.)
While Hex and his crew are facing off against serum-crazy monsters, another monster arrives in Gotham… and he’s not happy about the fact that his serum has been used so casually.
This story doesn’t move Hex’s arc forward much but it’s a great Halloween tale and, besides, when Jekyll and Hyde are involved, I am a little biased to like the story. I mean… have you seen my Twitter handle?
The backup this issue features Tomahawk… well… a new version of Tomahawk. I went in expecting the classic Revolutionary War hero. Instead what we get is much more brutal and different, but in a wonderful way. This new Tomahawk is no longer Tom Hawk, the white soldier who fought alongside George Washington. This new one is a half-Iroquois half-Shawnee indian warrior who is battling to protect his lands from the white man. Tomahawk is a fierce fighter who is so dreaded that his name has become legend… and this opening arc is going to explain why. Gray and Palmiotti’s story combined with great pencil-work from Phil Winslade makes this back-up much more entertaining than even the main story.
Week in and week out, I constantly recommend ‘All-Star Western’ to my friends who are looking for something different than the usual superhero fare. It’s Western stories that are just crazy and weird enough to entertain those people who aren’t usually into the genre. Add into that some background on Gotham City that ties into some current events in the Batman universe, and you’ve got one of the best and often overlooked titles on DC’s New 52 shelf.
ALL-STAR WESTERN #13
Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by Moritat and Phil Winslade
Cover by Ariel Olivetti